Refugee Commission meets Cameroonian Officials over President Buhari’s Repatriation Directives


Refugee Commission meets Cameroonian Officials over President Buhari’s Repatriation Directives

By Tordue Salem – Abuja

The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons(NCFRMI), has held talks with Cameroonian authorities for the safe return of refugees to the Nigeria.

The Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed (Lado) met with the officials of the Cameroonian government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Maroua, Cameroon, over the weekend.

The meeting, which is a follow-up of meetings in 2017 initiated by the then commissioner and now minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, also led to the successful return of 134 Nigerians from Cameroon.

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The minister of humanitarian Affairs , who has also shown concern and care towards the return of the refugee, also stressed that necessary arrangements have been made for the refugees’ socioeconomic reinsertion into Nigeria.

Speaking at the meeting, the commissioner, who was represented by the commission’s director of refugee and migration, Tai Hassan Ejibunu added that the importance of the meeting of the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) of both countries, on the Voluntary Repatriation of Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon and the suppport of the humanitarian ministry cannot be overemphasized.

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Senator Lado, who is also the chairman, Technical Working Group (TWG) of Nigeria on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees, said “The TWGs’ meeting is a forerunner to the Tripartite Commission (TC) meeting scheduled to hold this week”.

He said “The meeting this week would provide the latitude and platform for officials of both counties to have in-depth discussions on the protocols and strategies to follow in repatriating the several thousands of Nigerian Refugees that are stationed in Minawao Camp in the Republic of Cameroon”.

According to him, “Therefore, I would urge officials of both countries to be open in their discussions, while putting into consideration, the interest of the refugees, following international best practices and the guidance of our technical partner, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Offices, both in Nigeria and Cameroon.
“At this juncture, let me take this opportunity, to thank the UNHCR Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Chansa Kapaya, and her dedicated staff for their invaluable contribution, assistance and collaboration in all spheres, to ensure that discussions were held always, on how best to tackle the repatriation of these Persons of Concerns (PoCs) to Nigeria”.

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He added “The Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, is a governor that has demonstrated uncommon passion in ensuring that the citizens of his State in Cameroon are repatriated home in safety and given a new lease of life”.

“Zulum’s reintegration plans for the PoCs, if well executed, and with support of the relevant stakeholders and partners will assuage the losses and fears being entertained by the refugees upon their return home back in Borno State”.

He then thanked the government and people of Cameroon, who have shown love and hospitality to the Nigerian refugees.

“The Government and the country have exemplified the true African spirit, character and culture of good neighborliness, and being fellow African brother’s keeper. The country’s acceptance to host the Joint TWG is a further attestation of the spirit of umbuntu “You Live, So I Live” which is engrained in the psyche and the blood streams of Africans”, he concluded.

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The return of the refugees will also be in line with the Commission’s on going resettlement cities project, which will shelter thousands of displaced persons in a two-bedroom housing units across some states, consisting of primary health care and education centres, security outposts, worship houses, skill acquisition centres, markets and adjoining farmlands for use by the occupants.

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The commission’s Project Reliance is another programme aimed at providing a stable means of livelihoood for the returnee refugees, empowering them by way of giving them start-up capitals and empowerment tools in more than 50 different vocations and businesses of their choices.

Other stakeholders in the humanitarian space on the exercise are; the representatives of the governors of Borno and Adamawa states, representatives of the ministers of humanitarian affairs, foreign affairs, health, finance, interior and budget and national planning.

Others are; the representatives of the NSA NIA, DSS, Police IG, Chief of Defence Staff, Civil Defence, Immigration, NAPTIP, NEDC and NEMA

Vanguard News Nigeria 

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